Her Dangerous Promise - Part 2: (Romantic Suspense Serial)

BOOK: Her Dangerous Promise - Part 2: (Romantic Suspense Serial)
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Her Dangerous Promise

Part 2

Copyright 2014 by Ashley Stryker

Cover Art Copyrighted 2014 by Ravynheart Publishing

Image Copyright: conrado

Used under license from
Shutterstock.com

http://www.RavynheartRomance.com

Kindle Edition

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form without permission, except as provided by the U.S. Copyright Law. Printed and bound in the  United States of America.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Scanning, uploading and/or distributing this book via the Internet or any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Chapter One

Thom covered Mary’s hand to reclaim the keys but Mary tightened her grip. The flair of excitement shooting through her at the touch rivaled her terror. “Don’t go,” she begged. “Call the police.”

“Honey, I am the police.”

“Then call for backup or whatever.”

Thom stroked the back of his hand so tenderly down Mary’s cheek, trembling webs of sensation vibrated through her. “I’ll handle this. Just stay in the car.”

Mary surrendered the keys.

Keeping his weapon down and slightly behind him, Thom approached the house casually. The way he held it, no one watching from the windows could see the gun. But Mary could. Her anxiety notched up as she saw Thom flex and resettle his fingers on the pistol grip.

He approached the front door cautiously before unlocking it. With his hand on the knob he raised his weapon, waited a beat and bolted inside.

Pressed against the window glass, Mary wished she could see inside the dark house. Straining, she listened for any sound, expecting to hear a gunshot at any moment. The silence stretched painfully.

The squawk from the police radio jolted her so badly she nearly hit her head on the ceiling of the SUV. Unintelligible police jargon spilled from the speakers. Apparently, someone designated Twelve Charlie required assistance with a fifty-one-fifty, whatever that was. Mary examined the contraption, wondering if she should try using it to call for help.

Unable to figure out the knobs and buttons, Mary disregarded that option for the moment and turned back to the house. How long had Thom been gone? Two minutes? He should have returned by now.

Unless he ran into trouble.

The longer she waited, the more humid the closed vehicle became. Her own nervous body heat and the midday sun cranked up the temperature to an unbearable level. She cracked the window and a flood of cooler air spilled in and raised goose bumps on her bare arms.

An eerie hush blanketed the neighborhood, making it unusually quiet for a Saturday morning. Where were the children riding bikes and chasing Frisbees? Where were the homeowners raking leaves or cleaning gutters? Fear crept into Mary. If something bad happened right now, would anyone ever know it?

Another minute passed. Surely Thom had encountered someone. An intruder could have caught Thom from behind. Someone could hide in that sneaky spot between the refrigerator and the pantry. She should have warned him.

With each passing second, Mary became more certain of Thom’s fate. Frantically, she felt under the seat for anything she could use as a weapon and discovered a small lug wrench. It weighed enough to do some damage but was not too heavy for her to wield. At this point, she either had to attempt to call for help, which might not come in time, or go in after Thom.

She looked back to the house one last time. Fear twisted her heart into knots.

Thom appeared in the doorway with Fizgig, Mary’s cat, tucked like a football under his arm. Thom grinned at Mary and waved one of Fizgig’s paws at her.

With relief, Mary dropped the lug wrench and leapt from the SUV. She hurried to Thom and scooped Fizgig into a fluffy hug. To the cat she murmured, “Hey there, baby boy. Did you miss your mommy?”

“He was in the window watching for you.”

“Poor Fizgig.” Mary snuggled the cat. “Were you scared? Huh? You didn’t know where your mommy had gone?”

Once they stepped inside, Thom closed the front door. “The house seems secure. You keep your windows and doors locked at all times?”

“Yes, I do.” Mary toted Fizgig to the kitchen counter and poured out a small pile of kitty treats for him. While the cat munched, Mary refilled the water and food dishes.

“Do you have an alarm system?” Thom plucked the cordless phone from the cradle. “No caller ID?”

“No.” Mary opened her refrigerator. “Something to drink? I have diet soft drinks.”

“No, thanks.” Thom began pushing buttons on the phone. “You never set your speed dial numbers?”

Mary opened a can of soda for herself and leaned across the island counter toward Thom. “I’m not really electronically inclined.”

“I’m programming my cell number into your phone. Just hit the first preset button.” Thom handed her the phone. “Try it.”

Mary pressed the button and Thom’s pocket rang obligingly.

He pulled out the cell phone and examined the caller ID screen. “Good.”

“I’m sure that’s not necessary.”

“Better safe than sorry.”

Mary replaced the phone on its cradle and then sipped at her drink. “Thank you. Hopefully, though, we can just put this whole situation behind us.”

“Can we?” Thom watched Mary closely.

She felt her cheeks flame under his scrutiny. Why was she blushing? His strictly professional interest in her shouldn’t send her pulse skyrocketing.

Thom rose and circled the counter to join her in the kitchen. He reached to cover her hand with his but she drew back. Undeterred, Thom drew closer. Mary backed into the refrigerator. He penned her into the corner between the refrigerator and the kitchen counter, placing one hand on the refrigerator and the other on the counter. “Do you feel safe, Mary?”

“I’m… not afraid of you, if that’s what you mean.” She raised her chin to glare up at him defiantly. The breathlessness in her response might have given away her nerves but that had nothing to do with fear and everything to do with Thom’s closeness. The rest of the room vanished behind the width of Thom’s shoulders so her vision found nothing but his well-muscled torso or his too handsome face to alight upon. He planted his feet wide of her stance, well and truly trapping her.

Thom leaned even closer, only inches away from her. His sultry gaze swept over her and lingered on her parted lips. “But you are afraid. You’d be a fool not to be.”

“Wait a minute—”

“You think it is over?” he murmured, locking those intense green eyes on her that made her feel so exposed and vulnerable that they should be illegal. “You think this maniac won’t come back? Won’t try again?”

“Thom—” Mary didn’t know what to say. He invaded her space, claiming it as his own. The heady mingle of his cologne and masculine scent rippled tectonic surges pulsing in her bones. Consciously, Mary forced herself not to touch him, not knowing if she’d push him away or pull him to her. His body pressed close, too close, meaning to intimidate, which it did, but it also excited her until she couldn’t think straight.

He didn’t wait for a reply. “You escaped from him once. You won’t next time. I guarantee it.”

“But he won’t come back.”

“He won’t? Why not?”

Mary considered that. Why wouldn’t he come back? Because of her cat? Because of her promise? What if he changed his mind?

Chapter Two

Thom watched the play of emotion on Mary’s face. She hadn’t considered that he’d come for her again. Mary crossed her arms protectively and gripped the insides of her elbows so tightly her fingertips turned white. Her wide, dark eyes darted around as if an attack might come at any moment from any direction. She was scared now and he needed her scared. He confronted her before she slipped back into her tight-lipped reserve. “Did he tell you he wouldn’t?”

“Thom, please.” Mary pressed her palms to his chest, trying to gain room to maneuver but he wouldn’t allow it. Zinging heat radiated from her palms down his stomach and to places lower.

He pressed closer still, so only a breath of air separated their bodies. Dropping his voice to a dangerous whisper, he said, “He’ll come back, Mary.”

She gasped.

“He’ll watch you.” He bent closer, his lips nearing her ear. Purposefully, he exhaled his hot breath on her neck, sending shivers through her. “He’ll stalk you. He’ll wait until you are alone.”

The moan she let out stirred him to the core. His mouth watered. The plan, to scare Mary into talking to him, had a decidedly different affect on him. As close as he pressed, he didn’t—wouldn’t—touch her, even if he ached to do just that. Swallowing, he remembered the reason for the tactic. Either due to denial or naïvety, Mary didn’t recognize the depths of her peril. He feared for her safety with every fiber of his being. He had to make her understand the danger. Softly, he murmured, “Then, when your guard is down and no one is around to save you,” he paused, letting the uncertain silence stretch, “he’ll come for you again.”

Mary slumped against him, her head pressing to his chest. “I can’t.”

Thom wrapped his arms around Mary. He rested his cheek on the smooth flow of hair on top of her head and inhaled her delicate scent. He rubbed his palms up and down the stiff fabric of the scrub top he’d scrounged from the hospital for her to wear. Man, she felt good, fitting perfectly, as if designed precisely for him. Thom’s muscles hummed with excitement wanting to press her even more tightly, and much more intimately, against him. “Trust me, Mary.”

She sobbed, “I can’t. Please, don’t ask me again.”

Thom leaned back, pushing Mary to arm’s length by her narrow shoulders and searching her face. “Why? Why won’t you tell me?”

Mary refused to meet his gaze. “I can’t. I just can’t.”

The cell phone on Thom’s belt chirped, breaking the moment. Thom ignored the first two rings while he watched Mary and struggled to understand what influence the attacker still wielded that forced her to remain silent even now.

Giving up for the moment, Thom answered the phone. “Brady.”

“The hospital told me you took the victim home.” Captain O’Neal launched into the conversation with his usual gruffness. “What has she given you?”

“Hang on a second.” Thom carried his cell phone outside, leaving Mary to watch him go without a word. Let her stew in the juices of her own fear for a while, maybe that will bring her to her senses. He hated frightening her but he had to make her see the truth.

Once outside, he closed the front door to ensure his privacy. “She’s not told me much, Captain. She doesn’t seem to know the guy, so that makes tracking him more difficult. Whoever he is put the fear of God into her because she clammed up. Although she hasn’t said it, I figure he threatened to hurt her if she cooperated with the police and she’s taking that warning seriously.”

“If she isn’t cooperating work another angle. I know tomorrow is Sunday but I’ve called a nine o’clock meeting to go over the forensics.”

Thom scanned the empty street. He hadn’t seen a single one of Mary’s neighbors since they’d arrived. “Do me a favor. Increase the patrols of Miss Seeton’s neighborhood. I’m not convinced this guy won’t come back.”

“Will do.”

Thom hung up. As he opened the door and stepped in, Mary rushed to him, breathless and pale. Her appearance immediately set off mental alarms. “What’s wrong?”

“You don’t have to leave, do you?” She clutched his arm with her shaky hands. “Can’t you stay? For a while. Just for tonight. Please.”

His scare tactics had worked. Good. She needed to understand the gravity of her situation. Her abductor might come after her again at any time.

Apparently, his hesitation only compounded her worries. She jittered so violently she couldn’t stand still. “I’ll make you dinner,” she offered. “You can sleep on the couch.”

Her anxiety reached a fever pitch. Even though he considered using her fear as leverage to pressure her for information, he couldn’t stand to see her squirm. Besides, if he stayed, he could keep her safe. “I’ll stay.”

“Thank God.” Mary hugged him tightly and Thom returned the embrace out of reflex. Mary’s slim arms circled his neck so tightly her breasts squished into his chest and sent his blood pressure skyrocketing. He inhaled her sweet aroma, savoring her. A man could lose himself in a woman like her. Lose his badge too, Thom thought, although he lingered anyway, letting his fingers toy with her hair.

After hugging him for several seconds, Thom felt Mary stiffen. She pulled back awkwardly, her cheeks stained with embarrassment. “I’ll start dinner.”

BOOK: Her Dangerous Promise - Part 2: (Romantic Suspense Serial)
13.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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